Day 1, Morning:

Cheesemaker Jackie Chang calls it the joyful feeling. Someone turns on the music, and everyone starts limbering up, pulling on lab coats, rubber boots, hairnets. The room begins to buzz and so begins the Haystack art of dancing cheese.

Production gears up, and everything begins to hum with a delicious energy. People’s hands are at work at what they love.

We’ll share a secret with you: As much as any single ingredient, this pageantry plays into the award-winning tastes of our cheeses.

Jackie-Chang_Wall-Street-Gold-300x3001

Day 1 Late Afternoon:

In-house, we call it goat milk magic. We test and pump fresh goat milk into a 4,700-pound pasteurization tank. The vat heats up, bringing the milk to temperature. We add culture, testing for acidity when they begin to ripen.

When the milk has set, we pull 700 pounds into a separate tank for tomorrow’s cheese-make of Peak and Snowdrop. We’ll use the remaining curd for fresh chèvre.

curd-cutting

Day 2, Early Morning:

We’re set to go hard at work on chèvre and Haystack Peak, and everyone comes in early for the occasion. Curd for fresh chèvre is scooped from each tank and acidity-tested. Two cheesemakers team up to pull the curd from the tank into the cheese bag where it drains, gets turned, and drains again.

Another cheesemaker scoops surface-ripened curd, drains it till the moisture’s perfect. Haystack Peak curd is ladled into its famous pyramid shape, while Snowdrop curd settles into a round mold. The cheesemaker returns to spin the chèvre.

Lights Out: We give the cheese room its evening scrub and polish before we each say good night.

chevre-draining

Day 3, Early Morning:

The cheesemakers crack their knuckles. Turning and twisting chèvre curd is the task at hand.

Everyone arrives early to spin the curd into a brown basket, then roll it into the process cooler before it’s formed into chèvre logs.

We turn the Peaks and Snowdrops, salt them, and gently place them in the aging room. They’ll ripen for two weeks before being hand-wrapped, labeled and distributed.

Raw milk cheeses, including Red Cloud, Queso de Mano and Sunlight, are periodically turned and washed.

Another secret: Cheesemakers are arcane by trade. Everybody asks, but we never tell what’s behind the sublime taste of our raw milk cheeses. To this day, it’s never been duplicated.

Funk-Factory_Washed-Rind-Aging-Room

Day 4:

On the fourth day, our chèvre is ready to be shot into 4- and 8-ounce logs and gently rolled into various herbs and spices. Cheese lingo? Call it shooting the logs.

Once packaged, Haystack Mountain chèvre logs are picked up by Colorado distributors and shipped airfreight to markets throughout the U.S. We personally deliver a portion to more than 80 Denver and Boulder restaurants.

chevre-logs